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The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, in view of the references which the noble and learned Lord has made to the various other amendments being dealt with at the same time, I must point out to your Lordships that if Amendment No. 79 is agreed to I cannot call Amendment No. 80.

Lord Roberts of Conwy: My Lords, I speak generally to the amendments standing in our names. Clause 58(6)(c) excludes from the definition of assembly general subordinate legislation to be considered by the scrutiny committee what is described as subordinate legislation subject to parliamentary procedure. It is questionable whether that is right. Surely the assembly should be aware of such legislation and its implications for Wales.

With regard to Amendment No. 93, the first part of Clause 65 requiring an appraisal of the costs and benefits of complying with assembly subordinate legislation is excellent, especially as it is to be carried out before a draft is laid before the assembly. Subsection (2), which we propose to delete, promptly states that the appraisal need not be carried out if it is inappropriate in the circumstances or not reasonably practical. There are further sound provisions in subsection (3) requiring publication and consultation if the costs are significant. They too would be negatived.

Looking at the clause as a whole, what is the point of procedural requirements for subordinate legislation if they can be dispensed with so easily? This is a very bad clause. It undoes all the good achieved earlier and leaves

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open the possibility of some very arbitrary subordinate legislation produced by the executive without the approval of the assembly and very little scrutiny indeed.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Roberts of Conwy, made three points. First, he dealt with his Amendment No. 80. That amendment would delete the stipulation that orders which are subject to parliamentary procedure are not assembly general subordinate legislation. That cannot be right. As I said, Clauses 44 and 58 together assist us to distinguish between assembly orders, which are not subject to parliamentary procedure and which are called assembly general subordinate legislation, and other orders such as joint orders with Ministers of the Crown which will continue to be. Amendment No. 80 does not fit into that structure and I would ask the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.

Amendments Nos. 93 and 94 raise important points about procedure. Clause 65, as presently drafted, imposes upon the assembly an obligation to undertake regulatory appraisals of its draft orders. However, Clause 65(2) allows the assembly to dispense with that if it would be inappropriate or it was not reasonably practicable to undertake them. Inappropriateness relates to the subject matter of the order. We are seeking to write into the Bill the existing administrative practice of holding regulatory appraisals in respect of many types of order but not all. For example, orders whose sole impact is on the public sector or which increase a statutory fee by a predetermined formula are not subject to regulatory appraisal now and it may well be that the assembly will not have appraisals of such orders in the future. There must be a let-out in the Bill to deal with that.

The not reasonably practicable test in both Clause 65(2) and Clause 67 which permits disapplication of procedural requirements relating to the making of assembly orders is primarily concerned with cases of urgency. For example, food safety orders may need to be passed very rapidly. It would obviously not be sensible to require the assembly to have to observe the full rigour of procedures appropriate when time is less pressing.

Your Lordships will see that Clause 67 allows for a revocation power so that any assembly member may, within 40 working days, seek to have withdrawn any order made under the urgency procedure. That is an important check on the use of the procedure. With that explanation as to why there are those let-outs to the regulatory appraisal and the reasonably practicable test, I hope that the noble Lord will see that they are sensible and will be minded not to pursue his amendments.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

12 midnight

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendments Nos. 76 to 79:

Page 30, line 7, leave out from ("any") to ("laid") in line 8 and insert ("proposed Assembly general subordinate legislation when the draft statutory instrument containing it has been").

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Page 30, line 18, leave out subsection (5).
Page 30, line 22, leave out ("subordinate legislation") and insert ("relevant Welsh subordinate legislation within subsection (1A)(a)").
Page 30, line 24, leave out from beginning to ("any") in line 26 and insert--
("( ) not made or proposed to be made by an instrument in the case of which, or of a draft of which,").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, this is probably unnecessary, but so that no noble Lord is taken by surprise I must point out that if Amendment No. 83 is agreed to I cannot call Amendment No. 84.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendments Nos. 81 to 83:

Page 30, line 28, at end insert--
("( ) The Assembly may not give to the subordinate legislation scrutiny committee responsibilities not relating to the scrutiny of relevant Welsh subordinate legislation.").
Page 30, line 29, leave out subsection (7).
Page 30, line 43, leave out from ("but") to end of line 44 and insert ("it may not be chaired by a member who represents the largest party with an executive role.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 84 and 85 not moved.]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 86:

Page 31, line 10, leave out from ("Act") to end of line 12 and insert ("a party is the largest party with an executive role if--
(a) an Assembly member representing the party is a member of the executive committee, and
(b) it is represented by more Assembly members than any other party represented by an Assembly member who is a member of that committee.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 60 [Audit committees]:

The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, to avoid anyone being taken by surprise, I must point out that if Amendment No. 87 is agreed to I cannot call Amendment No. 88.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 87:

Page 31, line 24, leave out from ("but") to end of line 25 and insert ("it may not be chaired by a member who represents the largest party with an executive role.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 88 not moved.]

Clause 61 [Regional committees]:

Lord Roberts of Conwy moved Amendment No. 89:

Page 31, line 28, leave out from ("establish") to end of line 36 and insert ("regional committees to hold the Assembly First Secretary and Assembly Secretaries accountable for the exercise of their functions in each region.
( ) Each regional committee shall be responsible for an electoral region in effect at the last ordinary election.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the establishment of regional committees is important, as the Government realise, for the future of the assembly. Such committees

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can help assure people in different parts of Wales that the assembly is aware of their interests and is taking them into account. The people of Wales need reassurance at this time.

Clause 61 as drafted specifies only a committee for North Wales, which is not further defined geographically, and a committee for each of the other regions of Wales, also undefined as to areas and numbers.

These committees are committees of assembly members, not councillors or any other body that has had occasion to sub-divide Wales. The assembly members are elected by constitutency and electoral region, of which there are five. They are disparate in terms of physical geography but not in terms of population. I refer to the electoral regions. They could form the basis for assembly committees. They could also be adapted in the light of experience and be subject to boundary changes. But even as they are, they are a reasonable starting point. I fear that if all that is left to the assembly to sort out many will justifiably fear that the regional committee proposal was a last-minute bid to gain regional support within Wales during the referendum campaign.

The second key point is that if these committees are to be meaningful, they must be more than advisory. That is why our amendment proposes that the assembly first secretary and his fellow secretaries are held accountable to those committees for the performance of their functions within the areas served by the committees in the same way as they are held accountable to other committees of the assembly. All this amounts to a reasonable proposition in line with other proposals in the Bill for subject committees. The regional committees will be responsible for the overall performance of the assembly in their respective areas. The knowledge that these committees are to be established will serve to reassure many people in Wales. I beg to move.

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